Marcus couldn’t recall the last time he had actually enjoyed the company of another in these sort of social gatherings. He would always put on an air of pleasantry and fine manners, though he would leave his personal feelings along any subject at home, thereby acting not as himself, but rather treating the situation as an extension of his work duties, or his obligation to his family as an upright citizen. Yet this one had began quite differently than he was used to, which he found enjoyable. But snapping back into the reason he was here, he knew that he couldn’t remain in this state forever. He had to be snapped back and taken hold of his responsibilities, or he would lose sight of what he should be doing.
And as if just on cue, the arrival of Liberta and Felicita instantly prompted Marcus to snap back to his usual self, examining the positions of the other Swords to ensure everything was secure. Everything seemed to be in order for now, and Marcus excused himself from Ari, and manned a position on the far side of the room, with a good view of everything, and everyone.
“It was a pleasure to dance with you.” Marcus said uneventfully, giving Ari a short bow before heading to his position. Once there, he listened as the announcements were made. As Liberta introduced Felicita to the podium, Marcus clasped his hands behind his back and watched as everyone cheered, vigilantly ensuring nothing out of the ordinary wasn’t happening. He listened as she spoke, but also minded his surroundings. Nothing out of the ordinary was to happen. He had to make sure of it.
Felicita spoke of the thieves, explaining the necessity of the other branches’ involvement, to which Marcus listened more intently. He paced in the corner of the room, watching the speech unfold, and the reactions of the guests. At the mention of Moreno, Marcus perched up, but not enough to have made it noticeable. He was still here as security and defense, and therefore didn’t wish to alarm any guests by he himself showing any panic. Felicita then introduced Nova, whom Marcus gave a polite clap along with the crowd. He noted Nova’s rather weak demeanor and walk. He was, as per the rumors, not well. The coughing more than backed it up.
However, Marcus was now more concerned with the news he delivered. The first was regarding the Arcana Duello, the tournament to decide the next ‘Papa’. Marcus wasn’t sure what to make of it on a personal level. The tournament was necessary, and so he would participate as part of his duty. But this event would also be partaken by his siblings, which would be a more delicate matter to him. On the outside, both to anyone who would ask and to his siblings as well, he would clearly state that they should consider the participation an obligation, and one in which they should regard with the utmost importance. This matter would affect the decision of many, and they therefore must contribute all they can so that the rightful individual will take up the position. Yet on the inside, Marcus knows his family all too well. Camellia always looks to avoid conflict, and this would likely be no different. Beck has a brilliant mind, but Marcus questions his ability to apply his studies in a more practical approach. Flint is…well, Flint. This isn’t to say they don’t have what it takes. Marcus knows that all of his siblings have the potential to do great things. They are of the Telarius family, after all. But he also doesn’t want them to step into something they aren’t ready for. They aren’t fighters, and probably never were intended to be. That’s why they are where they are in their sectors. Yet to fulfill what is expected of them, they would have to become fighters, whether Marcus likes it or not. Thankfully, they would have two months before the event, giving him time to ensure they would be ready.
The second bit of news caused Marcus even more shock, however. The wheel of fortune and the fate of an Arcana card wielder was beginning to cause murmurs across the ballroom. Marcus himself was dumbstruck for a moment before he regained his composure and ensured all other Swords were prepared in case something were to occur among the guests. Marcus eyed Nova’s walk, stepping forward himself so that no one would attempt to make a harmful move at him as he left for the door. His mind tried to make sense of what had happened. The Arcana Duello just became that much more important now, if it held the fate of one of them in its hands. Not only would the winner become ‘Papa’ and be granted a wish. They would also hold the life of one of the wielders in their hands. But he understood that it was because of this that made it all the more serious how he and his siblings should approach it. Holding the life of others in one’s hands had to be handled with care. It may be so easy to say it now, but when the time comes then, how one reacts could say a lot about their character. Their personal beliefs, their tendencies, their ties, their emotions and their ideology. All of these were things that would flow through the mind of the winner when he has to make that decision. What a moral and upstanding person must do in that moment is cast all that aside, and simply choose based on what is right.
Marcus believed he was capable of that, or at least he would adhere to that philosophy. The question he asked himself was: were the rest of them?